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Darling Buds of May!

As Our Lady’s month draws closer, we thought it would be appropriate to set a few seasonal Rose Challenges you might want to think about undertaking in order to honour Her in May devotions!

Here are our three suggestions:

  1. Build a May Altar!
  2. Undertake May Devotions
  3. Encourage others to increase their devotion to Mary during this month

Let’s take a look at each one in a little more detail…

Build a May Altar

So you can offer the making of a May Altar as a rose, but here are your parameters for it to count:

  • Something special for the month. OK so you might have to use the same statue you pray before all year round, but you need to do something to make her surroundings particularly beautiful for the time that’s in it…
  • Something extra to aid devotion. Depending on what’s already there, you could try adding blessed Candles
  • Fresh Flowers. Ok this takes a little more effort and creativity than just setting it up with something you don’t have to change during the course of the month, but it’s also more beautiful and more personal, especially if you find and pick them yourself! It doesn’t have to be dramatic or expensive, but do make the effort to keep the Altar topped up with fresh flowers for the month – or at the very least provide a few for some point at the beginning, middle and end. You could aim at the feasts of St. Joseph the Worker, Our Lady of Fatima and the Visitation (i.e. 31st, according to Novus calendar).

N.B. The above assumes an indoor altar, something appropriate in the garden is also highly countable for those who can undertake such a project!

Doing May Devotions!

Unfortunately these just aren’t commonplace these days. If there are public May devotions you can join, do that and count them! But if not, here are guidelines for coming up with your own that can be offered as a Rose:

  • To count this you should have some appropriate place to offer the devotions set up. The obvious place here is the May altar if you’ve made it as above, but if not you need to do some sort of preparation of a corner of the house or garden for prayer.
  • Determine what your devotions will look like. Here we’re giving three basic requirements for them to be counted. When these requirements are met, every three days of completed devotions can be counted as a Rose. You can of course add whatever you like to these and count these extra prayers additionally, according to regular perennial rose guidelines. However these are the necessary stipulations to count the devotions themselves towards a rose:
    1) Include a Marian Litany – Loreto being the obvious, approved and indulgenced one but you can go with Our Lady of Sorrows or the Immaculate Heart etc. as you prefer…
    2) Pray the Hail Mary at least three times. As I’ve said above, you can include a full Rosary or whatever else you like but to count the devotions in and of themselves towards a rose three Aves are required. What I suggest is including them in another devotion, e.g. by praying the Angelus or this consecration or this prayer to Our Lady of the Trinity with an Ave added after each invocation… However to meet requirements all that is necessary is that you pray the Hail Mary at least three times.
    3) Open and close with a hymn. I don’t care if you’re embarrassed – daily daily sing to Mary! …and nope, it doesn’t have to be that hymn. Actually I suggest closing with the appropriate Antiphon as your hymn if you know it. That will be Regina Coeli till Pentecost and (for years when Pentecost falls in May) the Salve Regina thereafter. But if you don’t know it, or devotion leads elsewhere, any hymn is fine!

Marian Evangelisation

We’re going to make this one really simple for you. For the month of May roses which pertain to this category come on a ‘buy one get one free’!

What do I mean by that? Well above we’ve said if you make a May altar that’s a rose for you to offer. If you convince your neighbour to make a May altar that’s a rose for them to offer. AND for you to offer as an evangelisation rose, for having persuaded them. This is an especially beautiful offering if, say in the case of a child or elderly person, you give some necessary assistance in getting the altar together. This can also go for multiple altars within a household – e.g. if you want to make one in a living space and encourage a child to make one in his or her room that may be offered as multiple roses. In order for you to be sure you can offer this rose, you need to see the altar, so either go and visit them or ask them to send you a picture when it’s done! Apart from the practical assurance that it is made to specifications, just showing an interest like that is likely to build up the other person and encourage them in their devotional efforts.

As regards inviting people to join devotions, for every invite that is accepted for the first time, you may offer a rose. This counts as an evangelisation Rose whether the person is in your household or visiting, and it counts as a single rose whether they simply join you for that solitary evening or trek back to your May altar every evening for 31 days! However if they themselves are offering rses those are counted separately from yours and they can offer them in accordance with however many times they join.

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